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‘A deal only the Israelis could love’ — Pompeo spins the Trump peace plan

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A leaked tape obtained by Washington Post featuring comments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Jewish leaders concerning Trump’s Israel-Palestine peace plan is the news.

Pompeo appears desperate to keep alive this corpse, which many consider to be dead and buried, as it hinged on the expected Israeli formation of a government, which failed, pushing new elections to September, at which time the U.S. political campaigns will be heating up.

Pompeo suggests he doesn’t quite believe in the plan himself:

I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love, I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.

Pompeo told the gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that he’s privy to all the details of the plan, and said “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” – but he kept expressing his hope of getting “space”, so as to “build this out”.

Towards the last part of the nearly six-minute recording, Pompeo answers a question concerning what happens if Israel decides to go ahead with annexation of part of the West Bank, and his mystifying answer ends with the concern of what is “in America and Israel’s best interest” – possibly a Freudian slip, in that Palestinians are not mentioned, but this seems to follow the pattern of what we have heard about this already.

Pompeo’s answer literally contains more questions than answers, and it is worth following:

All I’d say about that is we’ve given it a great deal of thought, that is, certainly since I’ve been Secretary of State. This was something we knew was a possibility. And how to think about that? To weigh in on that? Well, in the run up to any decision that Israel might make about that, and given that decision, what would be the appropriate response? We had hoped…frankly, this has taken us longer, to roll out our plan, than I had originally thought it might, to put it lightly…I’m hopeful we’ll get the space to do that [reveal the plan] before a decision like that would be made…the space to present it… it may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out’ […] I think there is [unintelligible] consensus on how we should proceed in those events… well, one of [the scenarios] addresses – what if we roll out the plan and it doesn’t make much progress and a decision is made [by Israel] to annex certain locations [in the West Bank], how would we respond, what would be the best way to achieve the outcomes that we think are in America and Israel’s best interest?

So Pompeo suggests that there has been some thought dedicated to this, but his response is foggy – it’s as if he’s saying ‘we think we’ll work it out, somehow’.

In effect, he’s saying we’ll follow Israel’s lead.

Trump supports Pompeo

Trump supported Pompeo in the wake of the leak, in specific concerning the “unexecutable” part:

When Mike says that, I understand when he says that, because most people think it can’t be done. I think it probably can. But, as I say often, we’ll see what happens.

Trump expressed his fury about the second election in Israel, saying it was “messed up”:

Bibi got elected. Now, all of a sudden, they’re going to have to go through the process again until September? That’s ridiculous. So we’re not happy about that.

Trump urged Israel to “get their act together.”

This is another election-meddling by Trump – Netanyahu has blamed the failure to make a government on Avigdor Lieberman who insisted on a guarantee of ultra-orthodox draft.

Trump’s “we’ll see what happens” is an attempt to hedge losses if this doesn’t actually work out, if the plan is indeed dead.

Jared Kushner, the main negotiator of the plan, has also hedged recently:

Success can look like a lot of different things. It can look like an agreement, it can look like a discussion, it could lead to closer cooperation, maybe resolve a couple of issues, maybe not?

So what we are really witnessing here, is American officials who are beginning to concede that their “deal of the century” may indeed be dead and buried, and they are beginning to cut their losses. But no worries – in the end, it’s all going to work out in America and Israel’s best interests. Let’s just wait and “see what happens”.

Update: This post originally appeared with a headline saying that there is “not consensus” in the Trump administration on its response if Israel decides to annex portions of the West Bank. The tape is not clear whether Pompeo said “not consensus” or “now consensus.”

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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7 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on June 3, 2019, 3:29 pm

    RE: “Pompeo says Trump administration has no ‘consensus’ if Israel decides to annex West Bank lands”

    Kushner says Palestinians “should have self-determination” but won’t commit to 2 states
    By Jen Kirbyjen | | Jun 3, 2019
    Trump advisor Jared Kushner still hasn’t unveiled his Middle East peace plan, but an interview with Axios leaves even more questions.
    LINK –

    The 29 most eyebrow-raising lines from Jared Kushner’s Axios interview
    Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
    Updated 11:59 AM ET, Mon June 3, 2019
    LINK –

    • JLewisDickerson on June 3, 2019, 3:34 pm

      Jared Kushner Defends Donald Trump At Every Turn: Axios Reporter | Morning Joe | MSNBC
      (Middle East peace 3:25)

      • Misterioso on June 4, 2019, 10:07 am

        For the record:

        Truly shocking!! Mr. Wonderful, multi-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, verbally accosted on the street in Tel Aviv:

        “Sheldon Adelson accosted in Tel Aviv, cursed and told ‘you live too long’” Times of Israel, May 31/19

        [The article Includes a video of the encounter.]

        “Self-described anti-corruption activist Barak Cohen films himself shouting at the US casino magnate, who is one of Netanyahu’s staunchest supporters” By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ.

        JTA — “A self-described anti-corruption activist filmed himself accosting Sheldon Adelson in Tel Aviv, telling him ‘Asshole, you live too long.’

        “Barak Cohen, a left-wing lawyer who was suspended by the Israeli bar association in 2017 for harassing banking executives, posted the encounter on Twitter. Adelson is a Jewish casino magnate and major donor to conservative causes in the United States and Israel.

        “Eli Bitan, a journalist for the state-owned Israel Broadcasting Corp., or Kan, and writer for Makor Rishon appeared to applaud Cohen in a [shown] comment on Twitter.

        “Many Twitter users condemned Cohen’s behavior.
        “’You are a contemptuous person,’ Moshe Bagad wrote. ‘Even in disagreement, such language is inappropriate.’

        “In the video, Cohen is seen telling the camera in Hebrew: ‘God save us from Sheldon Adelson, then we would all be equal.’

        “Adelson, 85, is seen in a mobility scooter in the background flanked by two men and another younger man, who appears to be a body guard. Cohen then shouts the same sentence in English at Adelson’s direction, prompting the younger man to walk slowly in his direction.

        “’Stop interrupt in our lives,’ Cohen shouts in broken English. ‘You know what is maniak? You are maniak.’ In Hebrew, the word is equivalent to ‘asshole’ in English.

        “’You are Netanyahu,’ added Cohen, whose tweet with the video was titled ‘Sheldon, You live too long, ya maniak.’

        “When the younger man touches Cohen, the heckler tells him to stop touching him. The younger man then asks Cohen: ‘Be respectful of an elderly person.’ Cohen replies: ‘He’s destroying our lives. Hand off. You hit, you murder. Hands off.’ He continues to curse Adelson, adding ‘You live too long.’

        “Cohen wrote on Twitter: ‘Netanyahu’s pimp, Sheldon who-needs-democracy Adelson was added of my archive of dialogues with thieves, corrupt people and crooks.’

        “Adelson owns the conservative Israel Hayom newspaper, which has long been seen as supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

        “He and his wife Miriam Adelson were in Israel this week accompanying Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has received sizable campaign donations from the couple.

        “Adelson is also a top donor to US President Donald Trump and the Republican party.”

    • JLewisDickerson on June 3, 2019, 5:26 pm

      US Postpones Announcement of ‘Deal of the Century’ Due to Israel’s Political Instability | June 3, 2019

      [EXCERPT] Palestinian officials have said that the US and EU are stressing that Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” will not be revealed before 2020 due to the ongoing political instability in Israel, Maariv reported on Sunday.

      The new General Election in Israel scheduled for September is said to be the “main reason” why the announcement of the deal is being postponed. . .


  2. Mustacq Abdullah on June 4, 2019, 10:02 am

    So Mike Pimp-eo actually only speak the truth when he’s in a closed meeting with the Zïonists! This “Deal Of The Century” and all the other deals right back to 1948 has been good for the Zïonist Occupiers only. How can they expect the Palestinian people to accept such skewed Mafioso tactics? Show me ONE deal that really is an even balanced deal to accept by the Palestinians. None!nada! F- all!

  3. James Canning on June 4, 2019, 1:41 pm

    We should recall the foolish approval, by Condoleezza Rice, of Israel’s building of the Separation Wall on the soil of the occupied West Bank (Palestine). Rice at that time was National Security Advisor to GW Bush.

  4. edthespark on June 5, 2019, 7:41 am

    Its a great peace plan for one reason only …… that both sides cannot say no what i mean …….it is a honest exchange of serious financial instruments.With or without prime ministers and so forth.
    Of course there will be those will seek to derail the whole kahooti but lets face facts without a peaceful solution there will be no last man standing.

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